New PARTS Group Project

After a long hiatus on group projects, we are starting up a new project to build smart servos, based on modified hobby RC servos.  The basic idea is to make a PCB with a microcontroller and some motor drivers to fit into a standard sized hobby servo.  We might even try to fit into a mini servo case as well.  We hope to add continuous rotation and position sensing via AMS magnetic position encoders, but those features may come on a later revision of the board.  If you are interested in participating in this project,  go to the Servo Project Brainstorming page and start adding your ideas and comments.

Mouse Sensor Board Build (3/3/2012)

What: Build up some optical mouse sensor boards using the ADNS-2620 sensor described in this previous blog entry.
This will involve some hot-plate reflow soldering using stencils and solder paste, some through-hole soldering, and testing.
There are only 9 surface mount parts and 3 through-hole parts, so this is a relatively simple build.

When: During the normal March PARTS meeting (3/3/2012)
Meeting starts at 10:30am; we’ll probably start building at 11 or 11:30am after a short presentation and show-n-tell

Who: You!  But, we’re limited to only 12 boards + a couple extra.  First come first serve.

Cost: $7


  • A small desk lamp is very helpful
  • Magnification is very helpful (the smallest parts are 0603)
  • We could use a couple more soldering iron stations, power cords, and power strips
  • An Ardunio, if you have one, for testing out your sensor.  We’ll have an Arduino or two set up for testing as well.
  • A 4-pin 0.1″ jumper cable to connect the female 4-pin 0.1″ spaced square-pin header on the OptiMouse board to your Arduino


Schematic, layout and BOM here:

Eagle files:
ADNS_26XX_Breakout_A_2 (zip)

See you there!


BrushBot board build Monday 1/10

There’s still a number of BrushBotComm boards that people want to build up, and at Saturday’s meeting we decided to try for a somewhat impromptu board build at this Monday’s (1/10) group project meeting.  I realize this is short notice, but at the meeting enough people expressed interest to make it worthwhile.  We can have another small build session later for those who can’t make it.

Scott’s bringing the hot-plate reflow system and I’m bringing the parts.  You bring whatever parts you might have already gotten from me, some magnifying device if needed, a soldering iron (if you have one) and some cash if you haven’t paid for parts yet.

We’ll be at the bRainSilo:
bRainSilo.  7pm.

See you there!


Brushbot Progress

We’ve been making slow, intermittent progress on firmware for the Brushbot.  We reached a new milestone in November, however.  We now have simultaneous IR code transmission and reception working, both between bots as well as within a single bot to use for obstacle detection.

Cat uploaded a video she took of my dual brushbot avoiding / attacking objects, during the November 15 group project meeting.  See the PARTS flickr pool.

November 2010 Robot Videos

We had a great time at the November meeting watching and discussing a number of different robot-related videos.

Here are links to most of them:


Bot Build Night Oct 18

A small group of us have been regularly getting together every other Monday night at the bRainSilo to work on swarm bots.  We’d love to have more people come join us — especially if you built one of the BrushBotComm boards a while back!  We’re at the point where we have bidirectional IR comm code working and want to try it out w/ larger swarms.

This get together is not just about swarm bots though — rather than toiling away alone in the basement on that killer new robot, why not bring it down and work on it in the company of other robot enthusiasts?

7pm, bRainSilo:

Hope to see you there!